Monday, May 3, 2021

Can heroin be used responsibly? Is the war on drugs worse than the crime?

 The psychologist Carl Hart, who studies drug addiction, has a book in which he describes his own careful use of heroin, and suggests that pharmacology isn't fate:

Drug Use for Grown-Ups. Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear.

The New Yorker has an article about him and the book in its latest issue.

Is There a Case for Legalizing Heroin? The addiction researcher Carl Hart argues against the distinction between hard and soft drugs.   By Benjamin Wallace-Wells

Here's a description of a drug injection clinic in Switzerland that caught my eye:

"In Geneva, he met a physician who invited him to visit a heroin-maintenance clinic with which she was affiliated. Hart spent several months there in 2015, watching heroin users behave as efficiently and functionally as the weighted gears in a watch. Patients checked in twice a day for injections, during one period that began at seven in the morning and another at five in the afternoon. In between, many of them went to work. The patients were each assigned a cubby to stash their respective belongings, and often one would leave a beer there, to drink after injection. Hart noticed that though American doctors worried endlessly over the harms of mixing booze and opioids, it didn’t seem a very big deal to the Swiss users, maybe because they knew the exact dose of heroin they were getting and could trust its purity. When one patient had to attend a wedding in less enlightened England, utterly lacking in injection clinics, she carefully planned out her doses and travel arrangements so she could make the trip. When Hart told me about the Geneva injection clinic, he spoke about it in the way that liberal parents speak about Montessori schools—as a fanatically engineered expression of trust. Of the users, Hart said, “They were always on time.”

"Shortly after visiting the clinic, Hart began regularly snorting heroin, as he recounts in a new book, “Drug Use for Grown-Ups.” 

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